Let's talk rusty Iron


| February 2004



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Sam Moore

Farm wives knew that food fueled the farm

This month's column has little to do with the normal 'Rusty Iron' topics, and it's my valentine to all the ladies who read Farm Collector - and the guys may just get a kick out of it as well.

The March 1940 issue of Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife ran a column by the foods editor entitled 'What's wrong with my wife's meals?' The editor had previously asked male readers to write and explain what they didn't like about the food they were served at home. With all the hoopla in today's media about which foods are healthy and which aren't, I thought the results of that column might be insightful to Farm Collector readers.

Four of the best letters were published, and are excerpted here:

One farmer wrote: Food is to eat. Too many women think food is a decoration or something to impress the Women's Club with. Farming's hard work and I can't keep up my energy on a diet planned for an office worker. I want meat every day and I don't care how many dieticians tell me I don't need it. I like savory pot roasts, fresh home made bread, a big pot of baked beans and brown bread, Indian pudding and pies. Give me steak and French fried potatoes and I positively purr. That's the sort of food that makes me feel like plowing up a whole county just for the fun of it.

Another farmer wrote: My wife is a culinary dresser-upper, a show-off. I'm the guinea pig on whom she tries out pineapple-marshmallow-whipped cream salads. Sometimes I think she adds a dash of perfume. [What I like is] ... potatoes browned with pot roast, thick pea soup with a chaser of johnnycake, chicken pie with plenty of chicken and yellow gravy, beefsteak with hashed brown potatoes, spare-ribs and sauerkraut, a seaworthy Irish stew now and then - some day I'm going to chain my wife to the stove leg and have them all!

One man poetically echoed the former farmer's sentiments: You'll think I'm rather a funny dub, but I like good old-fashioned grub. I wish my wife would cook some ham, and make hot biscuits with plenty of jam. Or a good hot bowl of chili soup; for fancy salads I don't give a whoop. My granddad is a hale old man, but grandma wasn't a vitamin fan, and he ate lots of pie and cake, and all the good things they used to make. My wife's a good cook, I won't complain, but I like good food and Hike it plain.